This story deals with themes of suicide
The air is rushing past my face, pushing my entire body forward like the entire world wants me to do it. Ants scatter the pavement below, walking to their workplace or grabbing coffee with some friends. And my creature mocks me from the lick of my ankles, a distorted recording of that video I replayed a thousand times in my head now coming from its drooping mouth.
‘Can you tell me how a perfect love goes wrong!’
My friends scream at the top of their lungs as they ‘sing’ for karaoke, their happy faces seemingly etched right into the core of my brain. The monster attaches itself to my back, cackling as it continues to play the memory of the video again.
‘Alone again! On your own, like always!’ It screeches something I don’t want to hear, cementing itself as my truth. Last night my friends had gone without me to a party I wasn’t invited to, my ex in the video along with them. “They chose him because they hate you. They hate you! They hate you! They hate you!”
‘Shut the fuck up!’ I scream at the top of my lungs and almost choke on those words as my right foot slides along the roof’s edge, half of it now above a twelve-story drop to the ground. Vertigo takes over, and my body feels like it’s rocking back and forth, the buildings around me tilting side to side. It feels like a nightmare and I can’t wake up – I’m not in control of my body even though I know what’s going on.
A scream echoes from the streets, and all the little critters there stop to look up where the lady is pointing at. ‘She’s gonna jump!’
Is that what I’m going to do? The stranger’s conclusion sends my head spinning even more and my left foot staggers until it matches my right. With one wrong move, I’ll fall. Everyone will see me, and I can see them take their phones out. The whole world will see me now and maybe my friends will see me for once too.
‘Be careful, haha!’ That same scratching imitation of a friend’s voice sparks the memory, of a video of them messing around in their backyard. I should have been there, they were my friends first. All of them chose my ex over me, to have that man fool around and have fun while I sat at home and cried the whole night. Would they still have done that if they knew what he had done to me?
‘What difference does that make?’ My creature hisses into my ear, its black sludge winding around my body. The simple question makes my heart beat in my ear and I find myself forcing air in and out of my lungs. He touched me without my permission, is that not a big thing? Wouldn’t my friends get rid of him if they knew? Wouldn’t they choose me instead? The lump in my throat forms and tears prick the edge of my eyes, blurring the entire city in front of me. I’m not a choice, I’m a friend and I know that, so why – Why didn’t they choose me?
‘They hate me. That’s why.’ Clarity sets in, and my heart slows down as I feel a wave of calmness sweeping my body.
‘She jumped!’ The woman screamed and all I thought as the pavement came closer was:
‘Shut up, shut up, shut up.’ My nightmare laughs into my ear.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY
Katherine sits on the top bunk bed with headphones plugged in and the volume up way too loud. Mae does not scold her for it, the older sister is frozen on the first step of the stairs. The blur of lights is flashing in front of their eyes but Mae’s brain isn’t processing anything. Instead, there’s a sinking feeling.
A door slams outside, Mae flinches. The shared bedroom door is cracked open just a little and Mae hears her mother begin to yell.
I need to close the door. She shuffles past the mess of toys on the carpet floor.
‘Why?! Why would you do this?’ It feels like she needs to throw up everything in her stomach but her stomach is empty all at once. Her mother’s anguished voice is enough to completely freeze Mae over that she’s not even shaking. ‘Did I do something wrong, huh?! Is that why you’re going out all the time?!’ She won’t stop yelling and it’s always followed by silence, not a peep from the other person her mother is addressing.
The silence stretched on as if a reply was pending silently in the air, waiting for Mae to press play again when she was ready. It’s enough for Mae to pull the door open wider, her head sticking out in what children could not understand as a feeling of morbid curiosity.
The kitchen and dining area are within view down the hall and in between those two spaces is her mother staring accusingly at someone behind the corner. Her tear-stricken face is contorted in so much rage and so much sadness at the same time, that Mae wanted to cry too. Who was she talking to? It could have only been her father but that didn’t make any sense, nothing bad happened today, he’d only been out this late because of work.
‘You spend all our money and you can’t even look at me!’ She swings the door until it’s back to just a crack in the wall, one eye looking through but it is now just a blur of her mother. Her figure leans over and it is followed by the crash of the plastic stool, the familiar sound of it being knocked down and Mae realises she’s thrown it at him. ‘You should have stayed out! Don’t come back next time.’
That was the end of it, her mother storming towards the hall where Mae was hiding in the bedroom. She must have seen the door was a little open because the door slams shut, the doorknob hitting Mae near the eye and it took all of her to not cry out, whimpering in the pain.
‘I miss dad.’ Katherine says from the bed, her headphones now off. ‘When will he be home?’
The ship creaks, as she rocks gently from side to side. The scent of sea air is familiar but never fails to feel refreshing on the lungs as it whisks away the smell of dead fish. Kreol is hunched over the steering wheel, surveying the still waters. It’s too quiet, with not a single bird flying over or fish near the surface despite it being close to known heavily populated waters during migrating season. The sun is high above, obscuring a part of his view.
A school of orange faintly appears on the left, a large body of god knows what swim under the ship at blinding speed and it knocks the ship with its weight. ‘Piranials!’ He shouts and the crew bursts from under, flooding the deck in their rags and spears, gunners rolling the canons into positions.
‘Captain, we can’t-’ A scream tears through the Quartermaster’s words, both of them spinning towards the sound as a piranial jumps out from the ocean, their mouths full of four rows of sharp teeth sinking into the side of their head. The ungodly three-eyed fish shrieks but doesn’t let go of the man who is trying to tear it from his flesh. Kreol covers his ears and the sound signals a whole hoard to jump from the ocean’s surface, the vicious display of teeth grabbing onto the rest of the man’s body, tearing at him until one side was a mess of blood and mangled organs.
‘It’s over.’ Kreol whispers, drawing his sword as a piranial from the dead body spots him, its blood-red eyes glow in daylight. The fish shrieks and he watches as the ship is surrounded on both sides. The predators biting into the ship and his men, their screams drowning out the sound of his own heart dying.
Sharon Cabasag is a young adult that mostly stays at home unless she is invited to go hang out with friends. She has only had enough time to read comics instead of novels because of university, although, she has taken to gaming late at night for some much needed isolation.